Spurgeon arranged the text and his sermon around the theme "Two Sorts of Hearers." Spurgeon refers to these two types of hearers as the blessed and unblessed. Some of my favorite portions of his sermon are quoted below.
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Regarding the "unblessed" ('mere hearers' Jas. 1.22):
They hear—some of them pretty regularly, others of them only now and then just to while away an hour; and they hear with considerable attention, because they appreciate good speaking. They are interested in doctrine, perhaps, having some little knowledge of the Christian system, and they like to discuss a point or two. Moreover, they are anxious to be able to say that they heard such a one preach, of whom a fame has gone abroad. But as to doing what they hear, that has not entered their minds. They have heard a sermon on repentance, but they have not repented. They have heard the gospel cry, ‘Believe!’ but they have not believed. They know that he who believes purges himself from his old sins, yet they have had no purging, but abide as they were (198).
Hearing of a feast will not fill you; hearing of a brook will not quench your thirst (198).
Looking in the glass and noticing a black mark on your forehead is mere child’s play if you do not wash the spot away” (200).
For those worried that James's words "a hearer who forgets" (Jas. 1.25) indict them for their poor memory, Spurgeon says:
There is no sin in having a bad memory, but there is great sin in refusing at once to obey the gospel…You may forget the words in which the truth was couched, if you will, but let it purify your life (201).
Some of you, I fear, never think at all. As far as thinking goes, if your brains were taken out, many of you would get on almost as well without them. The brains of some people are only useful as a sort of salt, to keep them from rotting by death. Little thinking is done by the great mass of the people except the thought, ‘What shall we eat and what shall we drink?’ Do, I pray you, think a little. Pause and consider what God the Lord sets before you. Be a doer of the work. Do what God bids you. As he bids you repent, repent; as he bids you believe, believe; as he bids you pray, pray; as he bids you accept his grace, God helping you, do it. Oh that it might be done at once, and to the Lord shall be praise world without end. Amen (204).